On Monday, DNC head Debbie Wasserman Schultz announced that Phoenix and Birmingham were out of the running to host the 2016 convention, leaving Columbus, Philadelphia and, yes, New York City as the finalists. And should the Democratic machine choose us over a place with swing voters, Mayor de Blasio intends to make Barclays Center — and, by extension, Brooklyn — the center of the action. A decision is expected sometime early next year, which means that the people who live off of the Atlantic Avenue stop still have a little time to save themselves from a hellish week of (worse-than-usual) gridlock and (huger-than-usual) crowds by somehow sabotaging the bid.
As we found out earlier this month, FEMA wants refunds from elderly and infirm Queens residents who received agency money for temporary post-Sandy housing, but that they used for other purposes since the state was shuttling them from shelter to shelter. (The Belle Harbor Manor residents say that the purpose was never clearly explained to them by the people who filled out their applications, whereas FEMA says that rules are rules, and it's obligated to recoup its money.) Now Queens congressman Gregory Meeks has a solution: to reintroduce a law first passed post-Katrina, that gives FEMA discretion on which cases of misuse to pursue. Problem solved.
Following a long, tense weekend in the St. Louis area, the 12-person grand jury tasked with deciding whether Ferguson police officer Darren Wilson will face criminal charges for killing Mike Brown has finally finished deliberating. According to prosecutors, the decision will be announced sometime this evening.
More than 4,200 Orthodox rabbis tried to win the selfie game by taking one with all of them together during this weekend's 31st annual Conference of Chabad-Lubavitch Emissaries in Crown Heights. They claim it's the largest selfie ever taken, but, unfortunately, Guinness World Records doesn't yet have a category for such a feat.
Over the weekend, Governor Andrew Cuomo addressed New York's failure to properly prepare for the massive lake effect storm that hit Buffalo last week, burying parts of the area in more than seven feet of snow, stranding Interpol (and some other motorists) on the roads, and killing at least 13 people. Eager to shift the blame away from the state government, he criticized the National Weather Service. "No one had an idea that it was gonna be that much snow that fast. Snow coming down at the rate of about five inches an hour. No one had an idea. The weather service was off," he said. "By the way, I said this in my state of the state last year, we're putting in our own weather detection system."
Late Friday afternoon, the House Intelligence Committee released a report on Benghazi. It is an article of faith among conservatives that Benghazi, Libya, was the site not only of a terrorist attack on an American diplomatic site but a heinous cover-up by the Obama administration in 2012. The Committee, which is led by Republicans, instead concluded that the administration did not order security to “stand down,” nor did the Obama administration deliberately mislead the public about what was happening.
A videotape of Pedro Hernandez confessing to the murder of 6-year-old Etan Patz can now be used as evidence in Hernandez's upcoming trial, after a judge ruled Monday morning that the confession was lawfully obtained. Fifty-three-year-old Hernandez admitted to choking and killing 6-year-old Patz, who vanished in 1979 in Soho, after a more than six-hour, intense interrogation with police in May 2012. The judge denied the defense's argument that Hernandez had a low IQ and a history of mental illness, and so didn't understand his right to remain silent or to ask for an attorney.
Move over, Ebola: Bubonic Plague, the original mass killer, is back, having infected more than 100 people in Madagascar since August. About a third of those infected have died, and the bacterial disease has now reached the island nation's capital city, Antananarivo, where health officials fear its spread may accelerate. But don't worry, hypochondriacs: There's still a zero percent chance you'll catch it, just like with Ebola.